“Your husband is a very sick man,” said the doctor at the long-term acute care facility. “He cannot breathe on his own. Do you want to put him back on life support? He will not live much longer. Does your husband have a living will?”

These words were uttered to me five years ago tonight – December 17, 2007. I remember these words like it was yesterday. I felt a weight on my shoulder, yet I could not let M suffer any longer. I could not let my family suffer either. It was time to say good-bye. (M passed away the next day.)

I drove home that evening in a misty fog, just like the rain outside tonight. It was a Monday evening and as the wipers swished back and forth, Alicia Keys’ hit song “No One” played on the radio and I sang along:

“You and me together
Through the days and nights
I don’t worry ’cause
Everything’s gonna be alright

And no one, no one, no one
Can get in the way of what I’m feeling
No one, no one, no one
Can get in the way of what I feel
For you, you, you
Can get in the way of what I feel for you

When the rain is pouring down
And my heart is hurting
You will always be around
This I know for certain”

“No One,” became the top song on my playlist that day and the days and months that followed as I mourned the loss of my husband M and did my best to comfort our two children, my daughter A and my son D.

Heartfelt Memories: Today I wore the gold heart necklace that my late husband M gave me on our first Valentine's Day together.

It is five years and counting. Today I laid a stone on my late husband’s gravesite as I’ve done each December since his death. This year, it is a special stone. It is a big silver and gray stone that I’ve had since I went to the Miraval Spa during my first year as a widow. It is my special stone that has kept me strong all these years. It is my rock. My big rock that I now no longer need to squeeze when I am fearful.

I am a lot stronger and courageous than I was five years ago. I am a student of yoga and mindfulness. I am grateful for my marriage of 24+ years. I am grateful for the two incredible children that M and I brought into this world and for the fantastic adults they have become — in many ways because of the love and nurturing that their dad provided to them. I am thankful for my terrific family, my many good friends and the love of my new partner L.

Oprah says that “You radiate and generate more goodness for yourself when you’re aware of all you have and not focusing on your have-nots.”

It’s five years and counting. There’s a new Alicia Keys’ song on my playlist. It’s called “Girl On Fire” and I think it fits the way I’m feeling now. Yes, I’m getting stronger every day. I think you’ll like this song too. Sing the chorus with me…

“She’s just a girl, and she’s on fire
Hotter than a fantasy, longer like a highway
She’s living in a world, and it’s on fire
Feeling the catastrophe, but she knows she can fly away

Oh, she got both feet on the ground
And she’s burning it down
Oh, she got her head in the clouds
And she’s not backing down

This girl is on fire
This girl is on fire
She’s walking on fire
This girl is on fire”

See what I mean?  Don’t you feel stronger now?  I do.


P.S. – As I honor my late husband M, I grieve for all the families in Newtown, Conn., who lost their loved ones and especially their children in the violence that overtook that town last week. My sympathies go out to all and I wish them strength in the coming days, months and years to come.